Monday, September 19, 2005

Gotti Deadlocked

Friends of ours: John "Junior Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

A federal jury deliberating the case of John A. "Junior" Gotti indicated Monday that it was deadlocked on a racketeering charge against the son of the late mob boss.

Jurors, at the urging of the judge, were to resume deliberating Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. In a note to U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin on the seventh day of deliberations, jurors asked what they should do if they were deadlocked over the question of Gotti's so-called withdrawal defense.

Gotti, 41, claims he quit the Gambino organized crime family before July 22, 1999, meaning the five-year statute of limitations would have expired on racketeering charges.

The judge read the jurors a charge encouraging them to keep deliberating until they reached a unanimous verdict. They worked about another two hours before quitting for the day.

Prosecutors allege Gotti ordered his Gambino crew to give radio personality Curtis Sliwa a severe beating in retaliation for Sliwa's on-air rants against his father, John Gotti.

A masked hit man shot Sliwa, a WABC radio host and the outspoken founder of the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group, during a struggle in a taxi. Sliwa survived, and he testified last month against Gotti, as did admitted mobsters who pleaded guilty and became government cooperators.

The defense told jurors that Gotti had nothing to do with the Sliwa attack and said he retired from the Gambinos following an unrelated racketeering conviction in 1999. Prosecutors dismissed the claim, saying Gotti used his name to rise in the crime organization and gave orders and collected kickbacks beyond 1999.

Gotti faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted of multiple racketeering charges. His father was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 and died there 10 years later.

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